This team is going to make me rip all of my hair out by the end of the season. All they had to do was last .9 more seconds without allowing the Kings to score, and the game would have come down to a shootout. That shootout never happened.
In the most improbable play we may ever see, Anze Kopitar cleanly won the faceoff back to Tyler Toffoli who one-timed a shot past Tuukka Rask in the final second of OT to hand the Bruins a heartbreaking 2-1 loss Saturday night at the Garden.
Torey Krug iced the puck expecting it to run the clock dry, but the whistle was blown with .4 seconds left. It was determined that .9 seconds was a more accurate measurement of the remaining time, so half of a second was added on, which, incredibly, proved to be the difference.
With the icing call preventing the Bruins from making a line change, David Pastrnak was forced to take the faceoff (with Anders Bjork being the other forward). He didn’t even need to win it; He just had to prevent Kopitar from winning it cleanly. That is easier said than done.
Another aspect of added frustration was caused by the slow start to the clock as the puck was dropped. If I am correct, the clock should start as soon as the puck touches the ice. That was not the case in this instance. The time doesn’t start ticking until the puck is at Toffoli, allowing him to rip a shot by Rask just in time. Would that goal have counted without that brief delay? Maybe not, but it is too late to dwell on the what ifs.
Even without the buzzer beater, this was a wild overtime period—one that really displayed the excitement that three-on-three can create. There were constant odd-man rushes, big saves and a few missed penalties (which could have resulted in a different outcome, but I’m not going to blame this on the refs). The drama and intensity were palpable throughout, making for a thrilling finish to a tightly-fought game.
If the Bruins lost in a shootout, I think most people would still be overall satisfied with this game. The Kings entered Saturday with a 8-1-1 record, coming off of a 4-0 win over the Canadiens. They have been cruising through teams to start the season, and the young, banged-up Bruins were in for a real test.
The Bruins were up for the challenge, and they kept up with the Kings from start to finish, with both teams playing with similar physical styles. They broke the scoreless tie just 5:27 into the game when Charlie McAvoy threaded a perfect pass to Brad Marchand for a backdoor tip in.
The goal was the result of a dominant shift by the Bergeron line. It controlled the puck for an extended time in the Kings’ zone (against Kopitar, no less) before being rewarded for its efforts.
Los Angeles responded less than four minutes later on a gift goal off of a brutal turnover. Krug, who has struggled in the early going, skated the puck behind Rask’s net and carelessly threw a backhand pass into the slot that went right to Toffoli, who took advantage of the mistake.
Rask, who played in his first game since returning from the concussion he suffered on October 18, was a huge bright spot in this game. He looked like his calm, confident self and stopped 28 of the 30 shots he faced, which included multiple point-blank opportunities.
The Bruins finished their four-game home stand with a 2-0-2 record. While it is a positive sign to take at least a point out of four straight games, those two losses were ones that are tough to swallow. Let’s hope for a better finish Monday night when the B’s head to Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets.
[Photo via USA Today FTW]